With the regular income from the provincial subsidy, funds, sponsoring and public revenues, the museum can manage the collection, maintain the building, and attract around 80,000 visitors a year. By investing in the Rembrandt & Saskia and We Vikingsexhibitions, the museum was able to increase this amount by no less than 75%. The family exhibition about Vikings (viewable until 15 March 2020) has already attracted 39,000 visitors and is rated by visitors with an 8.3, while Dutch newspaper the NRC awarded it four stars. At the beginning of this year Rembrandt & Saskia: Love and Marriage in the Dutch Golden Age also received very favourable reviews and no less than 76,000 visitors, of which 54,000 in 2019. Afterwards, the exhibition travelled on to Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in the Museumslandschaft Hessen-Kassel.
More than 95,000 visitors came to the region especially for the museum in 2019 and collectively spent 5 million euros. A third of these visitors combined their visit with another cultural activity in Friesland: a city walk, visiting other museums or attending the Frisian Street Festival. In addition, 25,000 visitors stayed for one or more nights. The museum therefore generated 47,000 overnight stays. There were 11,000 visitors from abroad and 30,000 Frisians. A total of 2750 articles about the museum were published with a combined media value of 3.5 million euros.
In 2019, the museum inspired 22,000 children to be creative and reflect on the world of yesterday, today and tomorrow, 10,000 of them in an educational context. The museum also involved some 6000 participants from various adult groups in 190 innovative activities relating to art and heritage. The exhibition Éric Van Hove: Fenduq (viewable until 5 January 2020) was the occasion for a very special project with the Frisian community. Under the direction of Van Hove, 40 Frisian, Moroccan, Swedish and Indonesian artisans worked onÚs Heit (Claas Jaguar OM422-V8). All 295 parts of a forage harvester’s engine block were copied in various crafts ranging from Moroccan woodwork to Hindelooper painting. Frisian-language broadcaster Omrop Fryslân followed the creation of the artwork in the documentary Hert & Siel. In a unique educational programme, the museum offered twenty VMBO and MBO pupils the opportunity to work with craftspeople in Friesland. They learned how to work wood, forge jewellery, make ceramics and more. We Vikings also collaborated intensively with Frisian partners. Students attending the Maritime Engineering course at ROC Friese Poort Sneek and shipbuilder Bein Brandsma built a fifteen-metre-long replica of a Viking ship, which will sail the waters of Frisia after the exhibition. The award-winning Grutte Pier Brewery developed a special beer to complement the exhibition.
caring for frisian treasures
This year, the Fries Museum loaned some 1500 objects to other museums in Friesland. For example, the museum extended 86 long-term loans to the Frisian Maritime Museum, and lent Museum Belvédère eighteen artworks for its Frysk exhibition. In 2019, the museum digitised a large part of the collection: to date 80% of the 220,000 objects have been photographed. The entire collection is now in the sustainable Kolleksjesintrum Fryslân, the central depot for Friesland’s provincial museums. The museum has deaccessioned almost 300 m2 of objects to make this possible, and the external depot in Wolvega has been closed. The exhibition Collected Work: the rich collection of Friesland and the accompanying series Fan Ús by Omrop Fryslân provided more insight into this process, and how the museum buys, acquires, loans and restores artworks and objects. The workÚs Heit by Éric Van Hove was completed in October 2019 and has been added to the museum's collection. The museum also purchased a flower still life from 1653 by François de Geest and a rare 16th-century glass beaker engraved with the names of noble Frisian families.
A crafts festival was organised to coincide with the unveiling of Ús Heit with an in-depth talk show, accessible workshops and demonstrations in the Blokhuispoort. Together with the Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics, the museum organised De diepte in to complement the exhibitions Sunken Treasures and We Vikings. This sold-out talk show series was presented by former newsreader Aldith Hunkar. Together with art initiative VHDG (Voorheen De Gemeente), the museum also organised Bries, a series of artist talks. This collaboration provided a new platform for dialogue on contemporary art in Friesland. Finally, groups of elderly people who are no longer able to visit museums independently can still become acquainted with the Fries Museum with the Museum Plus Bus. The museum organises tours for elderly people suffering from dementia, with specially trained museum guides. Together with Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, the Centraal Museum and the Van Abbe Museum, the museum has developed a programme in which intermediate vocational education students talk about art. In the accompanying video series New Perspectives, nine young people talk to a role model from their own city in four different museums.
The corporate friends club consists of 50 members and the museum has 640 private friends who offer financial and moral support to the Fries Museum. Together they contribute around 100,000 euros a year to special projects within the museum. There were 80 business events with 5500 participants. This year, BankGiro Lottery VIP cardholders were allowed to bring guests to the museum several times. Thanks to the campaign, the museum welcomed more than 3000 extra visitors. The museum also teamed up with public transport company Arriva to offer a cheap combined train/bus/museum ticket.
This year the Fries Museum and its activities were made possible by Aegon, the Province of Friesland, the BankGiro Lottery, the Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland, EZ/Kompas, the Ir. Abe Bonnema Foundation, Mondriaan Fund, VSB Fund, Prins Bernhard Cultural Fund, Fonds 21, Herbert Duintjer Fund, Friends of the Fries Museum, Wassenbergh-Clarijs-Fontein Foundation, Het Nieuwe Stads Weeshuis, St. Anthony Gasthuis, Siebolt Foundation, Boelstra-Olivier Foundation, Leeuwarder Ondernemers Fonds, Koninklijk Fries Genootschap, Ottema-Kingma Foundation, J.E. Jurriaanse Foundation, M.A.O.C. Gravin van Bijlandt Foundation, Municipality of Leeuwarden, Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2028, Vaderlandsch Fonds, Meindersma-Sybenga Foundation.